How and when to update your Shopify theme
The benefit of purchasing a theme from the Shopify theme store is that you can always guarantee that the theme you are purchasing is up to date with the latest features offered by the Shopify platform. What's more, is that every time a new feature is rolled out then that theme will also be updated to include it.
The best part of this for you, of course, is that once you have purchased a theme from the Shopify theme store you can update it at any time in the future, as many times as you would like for free. As well as free support you also get free updates that not too many people seem to be aware of so that initial $140 - $180 investment that you made 3 years ago and that seemed a lot of money at the time really wasn't if you consider the physical time that it takes to write in new features each time Shopify rolls them out.
Because of how Shopify works internally theme updates will happen numerous times per year, theme developers must work closely with Shopify to ensure updates are added, tested and then rolled out to meet tight deadlines and launch dates for each one as they happen. Updates are optional, if you want the benefit of the new features and do not want to pay for them then that is the way forward. If you want the new features but not the upheaval of updating then some theme developers will offer modification services for which you can pay to have that applied. Our team does offer this as a service for some updates where possible.
Why can't an update auto install?
When you update a theme in Shopify it will install a new clean copy of the theme to your store, it will not automatically update your existing live theme.
This is not something that is chosen by the theme developer but lies at the core of how Shopify is built.
Themes within Shopify are accessible and easy to navigate through to change code, styles add new features, scripts, and modifications. Apps also integrate into themes by inserting code and new snippets which allows them to operate and run tasks on the customer side of the store. This means that no 2 stores on Shopify using the same theme are identical as all will have some form of code edit within them which would make it impossible to target a specific line by line change within files that would be required in order to add updates automatically.
The real upside to this, however, comes when problem-solving and the need for disaster recovery. If code changes are made and numerous apps installed without thorough testing then problems can occur. We have seen stores lose their ability to sell and show products completely. Clean installs and updates mean problems will be isolated only to one installation of the theme and not others giving store owners a clean break from problematic code and bugs which is often very necessary.
How do you get the latest update?
To update your theme you will need to sign-in to your Shopify store and vist the themes page. From here follow the link to the Shopify theme store and then locate your theme. For those using our themes you can find them here:
One the themes page click on Add latest theme version or Add theme
If you are prompted for payment stop, at this point you will need to check with the Shopify billing team as to why you are being charged. If you are not then you can proceed to the next step.
If you do not want the new theme to publish automatically make sure you choose the option to install this into the background. From here you will be able to customize, modify or set up the theme in the background under preview without any changes being shown to your customers within your live store.
What about apps?
Apps that have been installed to your store may have added code to the live theme at the time the app was installed. This does mean that additional themes added to your store or updated copies will not include that code. To update your apps rather than trying to copy code between theme files it is highly recommended that you reach out to the app developer for support, they will be able to migrate the app for you or provide the necessary steps for you to do so. Our theme support can not assist you in moving apps between theme versions.
What about modifications?
Modifications made to one theme version will not transfer to another, those changes will be local only to the original theme installation that they were made to. you will need to work with a developer or obtain a quotation from your theme development team to migrate those changes should you wish to have them in the new version. Remember these updates are optional and usually taken on in order to gain access to new features, in doing so you will need to weigh up the benefits of these changes vs what you may have to go without if you elect to continue.
Can someone update a theme for me?
Yes, if you want to update your theme but do not know how to or do not want to do this alone then there are many services available to you. For our themes we do offer a fixed price service for Shopify theme updates with and without app transfers.